This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, July 29

Socialites, scenesters and the hip crowd know that Thursdays are perfect for dressy soirees. If you're up for rubbing elbows with H-town's elite, stop by the Bullock Mansion for "Forever Diamond...A Preview Party." The Young Texans Against Cancer are teaming up with the Stehlin Foundation for this event, which is BYOW, as it were. "We're hoping people will bring a bottle of wine that retails for $30 or more to be auctioned later," says publicist Sarah Bray. Throw on your stylish duds and bring the vino at 7 p.m. to 411 Lovett Boulevard. For reservations, call 713-756-2853. Free.

Friday, July 30

Your friends have heard your my-life-is-so-crazy-I-should-write-a-book line so many times, they're ready to slap you. Well, hey, they laughed at Hitler before he got published (okay, maybe he's a bad example). Hurry up and write the great American novel already. Local author Anita Higman will show you how tonight with her workshop "Ten Tips on Getting Published." She'll also be signing her new book, A Tribute to Early Texas. Meet Higman at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 7026 Highway 6 North. For information, call 281-861-8255. Free.

Looking to get shitfaced while dancing up a storm? We'll give these DJs props for calling a spade a spade: Friday night's happening at Union is appropriately dubbed "Intoxicated." With $2 brews, is there any other way to leave this joint? The evening's entertainment comes courtesy of spinstress Shoe from Danseparc, Ceeplus, DJ Culloughfull, Eban, DJ 7000 Ft. Tall and others, who'll be spinning electrofunk, '80s, new wave, dirty disco, hip-hop, dancepunk and more. If you're one of the first 100 people to flock to space-of-the-moment Union, you'll nab a free mix CD. 9 p.m. 202 Tuam. For information, visit Free; $5 after 11 p.m.

Saturday, July 31

Okay, you've done the hip, urban scene. Time to get sweaty and celebrate life in East Texas, pardner. In a passive-aggressive response to pest control, more than 20,000 folks are expected to head to Clute (for you Inner Loopers, that's near Lake Jackson) for the Great Texas Mosquito Festival. Watch country fixtures such as Robert Earl Keen and Kevin Fowler take the stage, and stuff yourself at the barbecue cook-off, then burn the calories off at the one-mile and 5K runs. There will also be a paintball tournament, a haystack dive and a mosquito calling contest, no lie. (Insert Deliverance-themed joke here.) 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. today; 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday, July 29, and Friday, July 30. 100 Park View Drive. For information, call 979-265-8392. $3 to $7.

Sunday, August 1

Remember when robot stuff was relegated to sci-fi geeks with pocket protectors and Star Wars belt buckles? Well, these days robots are cool, and everybody's getting in on the mechanized action. Hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon with such flicks as The Stepford Wives and I, Robot, and now the folks at Space Center Houston are unveiling their new exhibit, Robot Zoo. Spend your Sunday afternoon strolling through a veritable jungle of huge robot animals: a giant squid, a rhino and a ten-foot housefly, all created with everyday materials. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends. 1601 NASA Road 1. For information, call 281-244-2100 or visit $13.95 to $16.95.

Feel like doing the robot after your trip to the Space Center? Get your groove on with singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. DeGraw became the darling of the Manhattan club scene overnight with his fleeting pop melodies and such lyrics as "I'm just too drunk to make my point / But you think your name is 'pass the joint.'" File this stud under the John Mayer genre of heartthrob songsters who can rock the house. 7 p.m. Meridian, 1503 Chartres. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit $15.

Monday, August 2

Do you get turned on watching Emeril Lagasse slowly carve through a huge side of brisket on his cooking show? Ever found yourself spending too much time with your grocery store butcher? Well, you're either one sick bastard or just a red-blooded carnivore. Get your rump out to this year's Texas Roadhouse Meat Hero Challenge. Cheer on meat cutters at the "cutoff" as they saw through tenderloins, prime rib and top-butts. The winner -- the slicer who cleanly carves out the most steaks in the shortest time -- will roll out in a 2005 Ford pickup. Meat the contestants at 10 a.m. at Sysco of Houston, 535 Port Wall Drive. For information, call 936-443-9029. Free.

Tuesday, August 3

John Bradshaw Layfield -- or JBL, as he's known to his fans -- is quickly becoming the wrestling world's Donald Trump (without the reality show and bad hair). The six-foot-six 290-pounder started out as many wrestlers do: on the football field. After a stint at Abilene Christian University, JBL found himself broke and out of work. So he turned to wrestling and has made himself a small fortune. You can catch the former country boy at tonight's WWE Smackdown at Toyota Center. Side note: JBL is also a financial adviser, and he penned Have More Money Now, a financial guide. Ask him about mutual funds between his strangleholds at 7:30 p.m. 1510 Polk. For information, call 866-446-8849 or visit $20 to $45.

Wednesday, August 4

If you've just woken up from that stranglehold that JBL put on you, you're still in the Toyota Center. Relax. Call the boss and tell him you won't be in today. You'll be checking out the Wiggles, Australia's kid-friendly pop entertainers who, unlike Barney or Elmo, don't induce suicide in older audiences. You may have heard their "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" tune done on commercials and the like. No matter. After the violence you witnessed last night, these blokes will be a breath of fresh air, mate. 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. today and Thursday, August 5. 1510 Polk. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit $15 to $30.

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Steven Devadanam
Contact: Steven Devadanam